Friday, 21 August 2009

Celebrity skin

“NEW face of ORTAK revealed” read the breathless subject line of a recent email. Apparently Jill Halfpenny, “glamorous TV actress and star of the new West End production of Calendar Girls”, is “proud to be the NEW face” of the jewellery marketer.

Now, I’ve been known to pick up a copy of Heat magazine in my day, and it took me a few minutes to recall exactly who Jill Halfpenny is. (She played one of the myriad Mrs Phil Mitchells on EastEnders and won Strictly Come Dancing in 2004.)

I’m always fascinated by companies’ choices of celebrity endorsers. So often it all ends in tears (Kerry Katona and Iceland, anyone?). Or sometimes the company fails to exploit the celebrity for maximum effect, as my colleague Miri pointed out in a previous post.

This is especially important given that in many cases the greatest asset of a celebrity endorsement isn’t so much said celebrity’s tacit approval but instead the media attention that the use of said celebrity generates. A 2007 study by the University of Bath and Switzerland’s University of St Gallen, for instance, showed that a testimonial from someone perceived by the target market to be similar to them—in this particular study, a testimonial by a college student in an advert targeting students—held at least as much sway as that of a celebrity.

But even if those consumers won’t be more inclined to make a purchase because Joe Hotshot is promoting it, a celebrity endorsement used as a news hook or as a reason to contact customers and prospects, as Ortak used its announcement about Ms Halfpenny, can gain their attention.

For my part, the news that James McAvoy was doing the voiceover for a recent mobile-phone advert certainly got my attention. And yes, I have played the advert several times via YouTube, when I’m stressed and in need of hearing his dulcet tones. But can I tell you what brand of phone he’s advertising? Um. No.--SC

No comments:

Post a Comment